Wreck of the Royal Palm

DESCRIPTION: On the Royal Palm and Ponce de Leon trains, heading home for Christmas, all is cheerful despite a storm. The trains collide; many are killed or hurt. The singer warns hearers to keep their orders straight; if they get their orders mixed it'll be too late
AUTHOR: Andrew Jenkins
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (copyright)
KEYWORDS: grief warning train death railroading crash disaster storm wreck
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Dec. 23, 1926 - Crash of Royal Palm & Ponce de Leon, on the Southern Railway
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 247-249, "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS1, p. 316, "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" (1 text)
BrownII 218, "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" (1 text)
Lyle-Scalded, pp. 132-140, "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, ROYALPLM*

Roud #4149
RECORDINGS:
Vernon Dalhart, "Wreck of the Royal Palm" (Brunswick 101/Romeo 350, 1927; Pathe 32380, 1928) (Gennett 6051/Silvertone 5005, 1927) (OKeh 45086, 1927) (Victor 20528) (Columbia 15121-D [as Al Craver], 1927)
Frank Luther, "Wreck of the Royal Palm" (Grey Gull 4200, 1928)
Clarence H. Wyatt, "The Wreck of the Royal Palm" (AFS 10,892 A5, 1954; on LC61)

NOTES [157 words]: This song seems to have moved into tradition directly from Dalhart's recordings. - PJS
The song is idem dG51 in Laws's Appendix II. Brown, who is unaware of the authorship, gives details on the wreck, the result of bad weather and a failure to obey orders. 19 people were reported dead and 123 injured.
Cohen and Lyle note the curiosity that the song talks mostly about the Royal Palm though the deaths all occurred on the Ponce de Leon. It also appears that the crew of the latter train was primarily responsible for the accident. Lyle suggests that Andrew Jenkins didn't really know what happened, and tried to imagine the wreck -- something perhaps made even more complicated by the fact that Jenkins was blind.
This is another case of Vernon Dalhart putting out a song as soon as possible after the accident; Dalhart recorded it on January 14, 1927, three weeks after the event. One wonders how Jenkins had time to get the song to him. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.3
File: DTroyalp

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